What should we plant as companion plants for trillium?

jimandanne_mi(SE MI z5)May 4, 2009

We are planting dozens of trillium on a SE facing gently sloping site shaded by oak trees, and will have some azaleas, rhodies, and mountain laurel scattered among them. My husband says we need something else to fill in until the trillium multiply and the bushes get larger.

In my book about native plantings for Michigan, companion plants for trillium are listed as blue phlox, Virginia bluebells, wild geraniums, and woodland ferns. Wouldn't these overwhelm the effect of the trillium blooms since they are taller? Any suggestions as to which of these might look/work the best, or for what else we could plant with the trillium that would not be invasive?

Thanks! Anne

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maryann_va(z7 VA)

How about bloodroot? It spread nicely but politely and is be shorter than the trillium.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:14AM
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maryann_va(z7 VA)

I hit the submit button too soon. Pretend that last sentence is "It spreads nicely but politely and should be shorter than the trillium."

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:20AM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

I've always liked T. grandiflorum with Epimedium rubrum.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:48PM
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tomasincas

I have Trilium ,Mayapples and English Bluebells all mixed in together..Tom in NW Pa.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:08PM
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jimandanne_mi(SE MI z5)

Thank you for such excellent suggestions!

I love bloodroot, and can get some at our botanical garden plant sale this weekend. We have a little bit that was scattered around the lot, so at least I know the conditions are right for it.

I have never seen epimedium rubrum, although I had heard of its common name. Those leaves are gorgeous! How long do they stay that color, and during which months? I just checked, and our biggest local nursery has it listed.

We have masses of mayapples, so I'm looking for something that still is around in good form in Aug-Sept to put with it. However, I'll be planting the trillium right next to the largest may apple patch, so maybe the trillium will self seed into it.

Wonderful choices--I'm really excited!

Anne

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 8:54PM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

Anne, Epimedium rubrum has those red-edged leaves in cooler weather, so spring and autumn.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 11:32AM
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jimandanne_mi(SE MI z5)

Thanks, CPG! I'm definitely going to get some e.r

Anne

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 8:18PM
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jimandanne_mi(SE MI z5)

Hmmm, when I got to our branch of the "biggest local nursery", only 2 e.rubrums were left, all of the yellow ones were gone, and only the lavender ones were left.

I got the last 3 blood roots at our "botanical garden plant sale" even though I was one of the first ones in and headed immediately for the woodland plants.

Coincidence that I mentioned these here? I forgot to follow the rule of getting your own before you reveal a source!

In any case, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens plant sale at U of M continues today and tomorrow and has lots of woodland plants at very reasonable prices IMO, including 4 different colors of Epimedium (not rubrum). The plant list is on their website linked below.

Thanks again for your suggestions. I'll try out the plants I was able to get, and then get some more next year.

Anne

Here is a link that might be useful: U of M Matthaei Botanical Gardens

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:16AM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

coolplantguy,
What is the little ground cover in your photo? Lovely by the way.

Tom, so is your photo!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 6:26AM
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countrygardener_2009(5)

There is a gorgeous natural combination in the woods near my house: a big stand of tiarella (foamflower) dotted with red trilliums, but I think it would look nice with white trilliums too.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 11:26PM
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jimandanne_mi(SE MI z5)

Thanks cg. I had been thinking about trying this combination, so since you've seen it and it looks great, I'll try it! I've scattered the trillium around the lot enough that I can try different companion plants in different places.

Anne

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 8:09AM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

I believe the groundcover in the foreground is Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff).

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:28AM
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raehelen(USDA 7-8)

Ohhh, there are so many choices! Are you looking for things that will bloom other than in springtime? All of those listed above bloom pretty early. I have the yellow (and red and lavender Epimedium) and it's new leaves emerge bronzy like the photo above, so I don't think it has to be E. rubrum

I have hellebores, solomon's seal, false solomon's seal, fairy bells, dicentras ( the little ones, pink and white), lots of early bulbs, primulas, dwarf hostas- I have a tiny 2" high one that gets deep purple flowers, Paris, spotted hardy orchid- (Dactylorhiza maculata), double bloodroot (I love the flowers, and they last a lot longer than the singles), corydalises- Corydalis Flexuosa Purple Leaf, Corydalis ochroleuca (white flowers-neat habit, and will bloom for months!), and one that I forget the name, but the leaves look like a fern and it gets yellow flowers (not lutea), arum italicum, Hakonechloa (I have several varieties), oh and Himilayan blue poppy, ummm can't think of any more off the top of my head... Heucheras, Lime Ricky really stands out in the shade, as does Stoplight. Oh, and shooting stars, camassia, anemone nemerosa (the double white again lasts the longest)...depending on the amount of light- Astrantias, ajugas, one of my favorites is A. Metallica crispa- it's tiny and well-behaved.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:56PM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

Which trillium? Grandiflorum?

Mine bloom w/ Delphinium tricorne and it's really gorgeous.

"companion plants for trillium are listed as blue phlox, Virginia bluebells, wild geraniums, and woodland ferns. Wouldn't these overwhelm the effect of the trillium blooms since they are taller?"

The mertensia might be early enough to crowd the trillium a bit but they still look great together. I don't think the others will because they get big a bit later. I have different species of trillium, hepatica, bloodroot, dutchman's breeches, where there are huge ostrich ferns a few weeks later.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 12:28PM
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